Eastern Spadefoot Toad

A state-designated species of special concern, the eastern spadefoot toad was discovered in Wilton, its northern most inland location, in 2001.


Eastern spadefoot toad. Photo credit: Kenneth Barnett

The eastern spadefoot toad is small, with adults reaching lengths of 1.75” to 2.5”.  Its name comes from a “single, dark-colored, horny, sickle-shaped structure – the spade – on each foot” (Chambers).  The toad has smooth skin and upperparts that are usually brownish, with some individuals exhibiting gray or black.  From behind each protruding eye, a green-yellow stripe begins.  It curves towards the center of the body then towards the sides, then towards the center again.  This pattern vaguely resembles an hourglass.  The underside is usually whitish with a graying towards the rear.

Life Cycle

On rare dark and stormy nights in spring, the eastern spadefoot toads emerge from their burrows and breed.  Eggs are laid in irregularly shaped packets up to 12” long and 1” wide in wetlands.  They usually hatch within two days.  Tadpoles transform into toads in 2 to 8 weeks.

Additional Information

The eastern spadefoot toad uses its spades to burrow in the sandy soils of its habitat where it spends most of its life.